Baking & Snack - June 2020 - 89

EQUIPMENT
Preventive Maintenance

around
the

CLOCK

Running a bakery 24/7 requires extra planning and optimization for maintenance.
by Charlotte Atchley

C

Commercial bakeries are no strangers to long production runs and seemingly non-stop operations. Bun producers and pie bakers ramp up every year to get ready
for busy holiday seasons. Keeping up with pandemic-induced panic buying can look a lot like prepping for such
busy periods. However, some bakeries might not have as
much experience running their lines long and hard.
"To do that, you have to anticipate and plan for it," said
Jim Kline, president, The EnSol Group. "If you're in a fresh
delivery business, you have to prepare for the fact that you
will have minimal downtime available for maintenance."
Without that preparation, either in having equipment
designed for extended runs or knowing how to operate
with minimal downtime, bakers may find themselves
tempted to skip out on routine maintenance just to get
through this moment in history. But a word of caution to
those who push their production lines.
"You get into three, four or five weeks without shutting down, and the equipment will find its own way
to shut down," said Rowdy Brixey, president, Brixey
Engineering Strategies & Training. "It will stop, and now
you're in a different crisis mode. You're losing lots of
product. You could have used up all the reliability out of
your equipment and gotten to a point where it requires
major repair, not just maintenance. That's scary. You
can't afford to run your plant into the ground and have
no plant five weeks from now."
Finding a balance between production and maintenance
during high-volume seasons requires, as Mr. Kline said, a

lot of preparation. While some larger bakeries run this way
routinely, those that are new to it can apply some common
strategies to make the most of running around the clock.

Define critical
When downtimes are few and far between, prioritization
becomes of the utmost importance. Maintenance teams
must determine what should be done to keep a line running and what can be put off. Criticality ranking can
help make those decisions. There are several questions
that help guide this discussion: How critical is the equipment to the business? How often is the production line
running? And what is the impact going to be to sales if
this line or equipment shuts down?
The first question evaluates each machine's impact on
production if it were to fail. This considers how much
downtime and waste would be created if the equipment
were to malfunction. That may seem like the end of a
criticality conversation, but the second question places
equipment within the context of the entire operation.
"If you have a really critical piece of equipment that
would cause a line to be down for multiple hours, but
that line is only scheduled to run 20% of the week, then
that would have a lot lower critical ranking," said Eric
Jarvis, vice president of operations, Orlando Baking Co.,
Cleveland, Ohio.
Then there are the critical equipment and components like a gear box, motor or bearing that are failing
and need to be repaired or replaced.

When deciding what
maintenance gets priority
during limited downtime,
maintenance crews
consider how critical a
piece of equipment is to a
production line as well as
the entire operation.
Photos by Michaelangelo's
Photography - Cheryl Debono

www.bakingbusiness.com / June 2020 Baking & Snack 89


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Baking & Snack - June 2020

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